Karmagenes Review - UPDATED Sep 2017
Karmagenes is a Swiss startup centered on the idea of examining portions of your DNA to isolate potential genetic prerequisites for certain behavioral patterns. They claim that every type of behavior stems from a genetic root, which is further molded by environmental factors like home life, stressors, and so on.
The #1 man behind Karmagenes, Kyriakos Kokkoris, argues that you can always cheat a theoretical personality test but never your DNA. Speaking of people behind the company, they constitute an interdisciplinary team ranging from doctors in molecular biology, genetics, psychology, and neuroscience to engineers in communications, data security, and network coding. The entire team is devoted to communicating science effectively and delivering excellent products to their users.
So, stick around and let’s explore the company together in this in-depth Karmagenes review.
How Karmagenes Works
Karmagenes follows the usual direct-to-customer approach, which encompasses the following steps:
- Placing an order – Once you decide on a specific Karmagenes DNA test, you can simply place an order through their website. They will then send out a DNA testing kit, which should arrive at your address within 3-5 business days.
- Sample collection – The kit uses the cheek swab method to collect and secure your DNA sample. The procedure is entirely painless and it takes around 2 minutes to complete.
- Sending the sample back – Once you have your DNA sample, you can send it back to the Karmagenes lab for processing. Again, it’ll take between 3 and 5 business days for the company to receive your DNA. Note that the return mailing costs are not covered by Karmagenes.
- DNA processing and notification – The sequencing of your sample will begin within 8-12 business days upon arrival. You’ll receive a notification as soon as it’s initiated.
- Registration and questionnaire filling – You will be prompted to fill out a short psychological assessment once your DNA sequences are ready (2-3 business days).
- Karmagenes report – “Meeting yourself” is the final step of the process. Within 3-5 business days, you’ll receive the final 20+ pages report so that you can finally discover your “Nature and Nurture” and unlock your full genetic potential.
Note that you should avoid eating, drinking, smoking, brushing your teeth or chewing a bubble gum at least half an hour before collecting your DNA sample. This prevents the possible contamination of the sample, which can lead to an unsuccessful test.
Why Choose Karmagenes
Here are some of the benefits of opting for Karmagenes:
- Interdisciplinary team of highly experienced scientists
- Modern processing facility with ISO 9001 and ISO 17025 certifications
- 4 different tests
- No hidden costs
- Classification algorithms for matching people with similar traits
- Compliance with Swiss Federal Act on Human Genetic Testing
- Confidentiality protection guaranteed under the Swiss Criminal Code, Art. 321bis
- Asymmetric hashing for obscuring the client’s identity
- Implementation of ISO 27000 and ISO/IEC 20000
- Amazon S3 infrastructure used for storage, arrival, record keeping, and information recovery
- International shipping
Before dealing with the actual tests, we need to take a closer look at the scientific methods and theories upon which the Karmagenes service is based.
Namely, the company claims that SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms) have a solid link with transmitters and chromosomes. They’ve based their business idea around the postulate that specific genetic variations lead to changes in our proteins, inducing hormone level changes, followed by neurotransmitter modifications, and resulting in behavioral change. It all paints a picture of a neat domino-effect, but just how accurate is this theorem? Karmagenes links every behavioral trait with at least 4 SNPs and 2 genes, alongside other relevant factors.
In our opinion, our behavioral traits hinge on so many factors that we couldn’t even list one-third of them. The company basically claims that complex behaviors like risk-taking and decisiveness can be translated from solitary variations in our DNA, which we find to be beyond unlikely. DNA variations do contribute to predispositions for certain traits, but we would argue that environmental factors have a much bigger role in molding and shaping our genetic potential for actual phenotypes.
Having said all this, it’s time to focus on the next section of this Karmagenes review and explore the company’s tests.
Karmagenes offers the following DNA tests:
- Genetic & Psychological Complete Report (298.00$) – Combined genetic and psychological analysis includes saliva-based DNA tests and an online questionnaire. The results include all modern personality behavioral traits (confident, spontaneous, social, bon vivant, decisive, calm, sex driven, emotional, stress tolerant, optimist, risk-taker, and self-aware). The results also offer a psychologist’s advice on partnership, career, and well-being.
- The Genetic Compass (199.00$) – Basically the “trimmed-down” version of the previous test, this test also includes the analysis of your personal traits but not the personalized psychological report.
- The Contemporary (119.00$) – This test offers the analysis of 9 modern behavioral traits, including spontaneous, social, sex driven, bon vivant, emotional, stress tolerant, calm, strategic, and optimist.
- The Leader (89.00$) – The test offers the examination of 5 personal traits, including self-aware, confident, decisive, risk-taker, and innovative. As the name implies, it covers all the essential behavioral traits of a true leader.
Understanding The Results
We’ll be completely honest about this one. In our opinion, the idea that you can reduce such a complex phenomenon like human behavioral patterns to analyzing specific SNPs and conducting a psychological test is plain wrong.
Your report will, for the most part, state that your personality features are influenced by your DNA on a medium level and it’ll use the answers from the psychological test to “form” your personal profile. Furthermore, the specific trait descriptions are too vague and tips for improvement too general.
As far as the genetic component of the test is concerned, we haven’t seen anything specific of interest. The results don’t give information about the SNPs tested and how the final results correlate with certain personality traits. On the other hand, the report is ripe with endless indefinite descriptions of the potential genetic influence on our behavioral patterns. Karmagenes states that they’ve chosen not to reveal their analysis methods and specific SNPs due to the competitive market and the inability to legally protect their “secret formula” on a global scale. So, we guess we’ll have to wait until they deem it safe to publish their testing protocol.
The results do not offer any type of health-related insights. Also, Karmagenes doesn’t allow you to download your raw data.
Privacy And Security
Karmagenes collects the following personal information:
- Email address
- Mailing address
- Other details required to provide the service and enhance your experience
This information is collected when you place your order, register on the site, respond to surveys, subscribe to the newsletter, and fill out forms.
The collected data is used:
- To personalize your experience on the site;
- To deliver the content and products you’re most interested in;
- To improve the website;
- To provide better customer support;
- To administer contests, promotions, surveys, and other site features;
- To process your transactions quickly;
- To send periodical newsletters.
Security measures in place include:
- Regular website scans for security holes;
- Regular malware scanning;
- Limited access to your information;
- SSL encryption;
- Reputable gateway provider for financial transactions.
Karmagenes can use your information in the following cases:
- To address fraud and similar illegal or unauthorized activities;
- To protect the company and other users;
- As part of an investigation;
- To respond to inquiries and provide adequate user support.
The collected information is usually stored for 1 year, after which it’s deleted or aggregated unless deemed necessary to retain it. The company will never share your information with third parties unless responding to a legal request (court order, search warrant or subpoena).
Shipping And Handling
We’ve already stated in the previous sections of this Karmagenes review what the usual delivery times for Karmagenes DNA test kits are, also stressing the fact that the return shipping costs are not prepaid.
The company does ship internationally but cautions users to check the regulations in their country regarding genetic testing. Most countries shouldn’t have a problem with direct-to-customer non-health DNA testing, though.